The Mighty Logo

What It's Like Being a Walking Paraplegic

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

Seven years ago, my spine crushed my spinal cord. It took away the use of everything below T5/T6. I was told I had less than 2 percent chance of walking again, they thought it would be impossible.

By the time I turned 14, I began to learn to walk, defying the odds. This is where it becomes confusing for people — because surely if I can walk, I’m cured, right?

I can walk, but I can’t feel my legs. I deal with a lot of pain, spasms and walking in general can be pretty difficult. I have to concentrate and take my time. I can easily fall or trip, and it happens often. Not everything has come back either. I rely on medication, catheterization and Botox to keep my bladder under control. Even doing that, I can have the odd accident.

I often feel guilt that I can walk while some other people with a spinal cord injury are hoping and waiting for the day it can happen to them too. It weighs heavily on me.

Being a paraplegic that can walk is complicated and exhausting, but it’s a blessing I’m incredibly thankful for.

Getty image by Vladimir Vladimirov.

Originally published: October 22, 2018
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home